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Ask Your Health Science Librarian

HSC DaysNEW! HSC Librarian Days

Select Wednesdays in HSC 2141 from 10-11 am

Drop by with your research questions, queries about credible articles or to learn online search techniques. Need to find a journal article using CINAHL? Want to perform quick drug look-ups, learn how to run drug interactions with ease or quickly compare drugs? Have questions about a research assignment? Stop by!

  • February 8, 15, 22
  • March 8, 22, 29
  • April 5, 12, 26
  • May 3, 10

Attend a FREE, Library Health Science Research workshop on CINAHL Searching, Making the Most of Micromedex and Health Research the PICO Way plus more...see for all upcoming workshops!

Locating Ratings for Smart Phone Usability For Seniors

I had an interesting information request from one of our members that I think might be of interest to many of you. I’ve received permission from our fellow caregiver to share with everyone. I was asked to find a resource which rates smart phone usability for Seniors. Our caregiver had seen information on Jitterbug, but noted that AT&T does not Jitterbug phones on its network. This specific question had a focus on AT& T but if you are a Verizon or other plan carrier, you’ll have similar questions and can learn a lot from the response that I sent because many of the articles compare VARIOUS carriers. Here’s my “answer”:
It seems like you have 2 things to consider: 1.) usability of smart phones and possibly, senior-friendly apps that might help caregiving and 2.) you want compatibility with AT& T [or another specific provider]. Am I right? Some of the articles specifically mention if the phones have “stand-alone” contracts/plans  or if plans can be purchased from other carriers (like AT&T). Ultimately, since service plans and networking abilities change so frequently, I highly recommend when you narrow down the type of smart phone that you contact AT&T directly (call or stop in to a store with your specific needs/requests). I’m going to give you some sites that look at both the phones (features and capabilities) AND available plans/carriers.
Take a look at these sites:
a bit old but nice images to accompany descriptions:
Not as obviously helpful as a full review page, but here is AT & T’s section on devices for seniors if you are interested in bringing on board a phone for your senior that will be on an existing AT&T plan. If this is the case, it may be worthwhile to investigate which AT&T offered phones have “easy modes” or features specifically useful for seniors (again, make a stop at a store or contact customer service and talk to representatives about specific needs/desires based on what you deem most important for your senior):
I like how some of the articles specifically talk about what to consider when evaluating phones. It seems like there is sufficient differences in features to make decisions dependent on specific user needs/abilities/disabilities.
As we continued to correspond, another important aspect came out. When the time comes to go to a store (with the individual that will be using the phone preferably so that he/she can “test drive it” with you, as caregiver, and phone “experts” present to answer questions and assist), we came to the conclusion that it is best to “call ahead” to ensure that someone would be available to demonstrate specific features. Stores and employees are accustomed to demonstrating the latest and greatest “features” of smart phones, but our needs and the needs of our special individuals are varied and unique. We might need to see “easy mode” or apps that exist but aren’t “cutting edge”…often time display phones are “locked down” and only have certain options available. My calling ahead, speaking to a manager and specifically requesting the features and apps we read about (YES, I’m suggesting that you do as much homework as possible BEFORE going into the store), we can ensure a smoother, more informative session and an all-around better experience for those whom we care. I’m not saying this just about AT& T stores, let me be clear on that in case you saw the AT& T focus and thought this is just about AT& T services. Nope, I’m talking about ANY phone store and ANY carrier. We have special needs and are looking at the phones from a different perspective than the “average” phone user. It just makes sense to find “common ground” and understanding with the sales staff so that they can show us what we really need to see. Make sense?


Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

I'd like to share some article links on how to make the Holidays as stress-free as possible for caregivers and the ones for whom they care.
Caregiver's Guide for Managing the Holidays (PDF)—I LOVE this one because it has a variety of articles containing tips that reduce stress and make the holidays "merry and bright" for caregivers in a variety of situations as well as sound advice for non-caregivers too!
A collection of holiday-related articles and short videos from

~Debra, Your "Caring" Librarian

2017 Caregiver Support Group Meeting Dates

The group meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month:

Spring Semester Meetings noon-1:00 PM SRC 2153
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

If you're a caregiver, I hope that you'll join us. We meet over the noon hour, feel free to bring your lunch.

Zika Virus Information from the National Library of Medicine

In response to the growing concerns about the Zika Virus, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has organized up-to-date resources for communities and individuals.

MedlinePlus now includes a health topic page on Zika Virus in English and Spanish.

The Specialized Information Services group of NLM has also created a Zika Virus Health Information Resources web site that includes content syndication.

If you need Zika Virus information in languages other than English and Spanish, visit NLM's HealthReach web site and search for Zika Virus. Results in many different languages are available including: Hindi, Farsi, Russian, and Chinese.

Summer and Fall 2015 Meeting Dates

The group meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month:

Summer Semester Meetings

May 26, 2015 12:00-1:00 PM SRC 1144
June 23, 2015 12:00-1:00 PM SRC 2032
July 28, 2015 12:00-1:00 PM SRC 2032

Fall Semester Meetings

August 25, 2015 12:00-1:00 PM SRC 2032
September 22, 2015 12:00-1:00 PM SRC 2153
October 27, 2015 12:00-1:00 PM SRC 2032
November 24, 2015 12:00-1:00 PM SRC 2032
December 15, 2015* 12:00-1:00 PM SRC 2032 *(meeting moved to the 3rd Tuesday due to the Christmas Holiday)

If you're a caregiver, I hope that you'll join us. We meet over the noon hour, feel free to bring your lunch.

New Book on Finances and Caregiving!

book financial care for your aging parent.pngMany of you have raised questions about finances pertaining to your parents or other adults for whom you care. I wanted to let you know that the Library has just added a new book called “Financial Care for Your Aging Parent” (click to see the full record in our Library Catalog) call number HG179 .A559763 2014. This item is available for check out.

Do you have any books, articles, videos (electronic or print) that you'd like to recommend to fellow caregivers? Please share!

Honor Flight Chicago--Support our WWII Veterans!

Hi Caregivers! One of our members wanted to call your attention to Honor Flight Chicago, a non-profit, local organization that recognizes and honors the estimated 25,000 male and female WWII veterans living in the Chicagoland area. Mary Pettinato, co-founder and CEO, works with Honor Flight Chicago to help WWII Veterans fly (all expenses paid and all travel accommodations met) to Washington D.C. and see firsthand the memorial, and the other sights of our Nation’s Capital. The Web site and embedded videos emphasize how these veterans are passing away everyday, and that time is running out to honor them with this special trip. Ms. Pettinato stresses that there is no obstacle they haven’t figured out in terms of accommodating veterans with a variety of physical limitations. If you have a WWII Veteran in your life, please get them connected to this wonderful organization!

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

With Spring Session drawing to a close, most of us are feeling the call of the outdoors--blue skies, warm weather, green grass, flowers, and longer days. The warmer weather is also encouraging other "critters" to be more active including disease-bearing ticks.

May is designated as Lyme Disease Awareness Month. As you head out this year, please be safe and follow these guidelines to protect yourself from tick-bite acquired illness:

  • Wear repellent
  • Check for ticks daily
  • Shower soon after being outdoors
  • Call your healthcare provider if you develop a fever or rash

The CDC provides comprehensive information on Lyme Disease (prevention, tick removal, transmission, signs & symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and more) at:

April 28, 2015, Caregiver Support Group Summary

Caregiver Support Group meetings are all about sharing issues/situations, asking for and giving supportive suggestions, exploring options and making connections. The topics, issues and suggestions below reflect the flow of conversation at a given meeting. We don't usually have a set agenda, and the items listed are based on the moderator/recorder's memory. If I've forgotten or incorrectly stated something, I encourage members to email me at or post a comment to this entry. ~Debra Smith, Health Science Librarian, Support Group Moderator

All links and mentions of the COD Library Caregiver Resource Guide refer to

The group decided to continue meeting throughout the summer and into the fall on the 4th Tuesday of each month from noon to 1pm. Debra will work with HR to schedule the dates/times/locations for summer and fall (stay tuned!).

Per group request, representatives from the COD Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Elder Care Solutions, Inc. will be invited to attend a future meeting and have a conversation with members about the types of services offered by these programs, costs, etc. in reference to the questions/situations of group members. Debra will notify the College of scheduled "speakers" via her email reminders about the support group meetings.

Issue # 1 How to help parents think about changes in their care giving situation (assisted living, nursing homes, relocation, etc)

The group had a lengthy discussion about how to prepare for and move-forward-with "the next step" when parents (or those for whom we care) can no longer be cared for within their home (due to safety or physical aspects). We talked about how to enlist the assistance of health professionals (not just primary health care professionals but also social workers, counselors, etc) to help deal with the emotional issues that these circumstances arouse (in both caregivers and those that are being given care.)

Many members suggested exploring the many options available (assisted living, advanced care, combination facilities). It was pointed out that the individuals at places like this, while trying their best to "sell" their facilities, were much more experienced than many caregivers at the process of transition and could provide help and support. We recommended learning about what was offered by the different types of facilities and then matching those offerings to the needs of each individual family. Every situation is unique and can change--one solution doesn't work for every situation or every family. We mentioned keeping this in mind when listening to a "sales pitch" or hearing "testimonials" from others.

Members expressed how frustrating the process can be when people are resistant (scared, fearful, angry, resentful) of change. We affirmed that there is only so much preparation and assistance we can the end, it is still the choice of those for whom we care...until they are incapable of making the choice (or a Dr determines that they can no longer remain where they are).

The issues of finances, federal assistance, state laws regarding paying for long-term care came up quite a bit. There are legal professionals as well as care management organizations, and personnel at the facilities themselves that can help clarify these types of questions/concerns. (See the caregiver guide for more information).

In addition to researching and knowing what is available, members reminded one another of the importance of having power of health, power of attorney, finances, DNRs, Five Wishes documents, etc. completed BEFORE they are truly needed (when individuals are competent and able to make their desires and wishes known).

The FCA has some useful tips & fact sheets dealing with aspects of this issue. Check out the Caregiving Issues & Strategies section at:

Issue #2 Distance Caregiving

We reaffirmed the information shared in the February 24, 2015, Caregiver Support Group Summary (issue #4). Debra will look into inviting several COD colleagues that have experienced distance caregiving from start to finish to discuss their experiences at a future meeting.

Issue # 3 Have Questions About Funeral Planning/Process?

One of our members is willing to share information gained from years of experience pertaining to funerals, planning, process, military funeral honors, etc. Interested in learning more or have questions? Contact Debra or come to a support group meeting for an introduction!

Book Recommendations from a Group Member

One of our members suggests the following books held in the COD Library Collection for information that is written from the perspective of health care providers. The member thought it was helpful/interesting to see how health care professionals are taught/trained to approach conditions/diseases and care.

Ebersole & Hess' toward healthy aging : human needs & nursing response
RC954 E23 2012

Ebersole and Hess' gerontological nursing & healthy aging
RC954 G455 2014

Chronic illness : impact and interventions, 8th ed
RC108 C458 2013

Assistive Technologies: Principles & Practices, 4th ed
RM698 C66 2015

Did I miss something? Do you have suggestions to add to our conversation? Please leave a comment below!


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